Capturing the Moment with Mompreneur Shannon Chiminiello
September 14, 2009Posted by pamela |
Marin mompreneur Shannon Chiminiello has channeled her creativity to become a sought-after photographer for children and families throughout Marin. Her personal, photojournalistic style makes her subjects feel at ease and allows her to capture their natural emotions and personalities, creating not just a photograph, but the record of a real life moment, too. You can see more of her work at www.shannoncphotography.com.
We asked her a few questions about her background, her work, and why she loves taking photos of families.
Q: Please tell us about you and your background.
A: I grew up in Marin and went to college in Northern California where I earned my BA in psychology. In my previous life (before kids!) I was a human resources manager for two major pharmaceutical companies. I live in Novato, am married and the mother of two children, ages 2 and 4. After my first child was born I decided it was time to do something I loved that would allow a more flexible schedule. My business was born out of creativity, passion and hard work. I love what I do and I feel blessed to do be able to do it everyday! Really!
Q: How did you get started with photography?
A: I have always loved art and photography and grew up documenting my life and my family in print. I am the guardian of our family photos and have a deep connection with them. I believe that photography is more than a “perfect smiling snapshot”—family photos are one of a handful of prized possessions that most people honestly cherish. Photos are one way that we remember and are remembered. I believe photos are not only a gift to parents, friends and family now, but to our children in the future.
Q: What do you like best about photographing families and children?
A: No two shoots, families or children are ever the same! There is always the element of surprise in a photo shoot with families and children. We can do our best to plan before hand but as we all know, children don’t always follow the plan. Instead of fighting that, we work with it and go with the flow! It’s amazing the shots we get out of being spontaneous. As a photographer, being a mother is a huge asset! I often tell parents, “Don’t worry! There is nothing your child could do or say that I haven’t heard or seen before!” Honestly, nothing phases me! My style is photojournalistic. I encourage families to interact as if I wasn’t there. Then, by offering gentle direction and utilizing my creativity I capture beautiful photos of real life moments. These are the photos I would want as a client and these are the photos that I strive to capture.
Q: What inspires you and your work?
A: Freckles, toothless grins, grass stained pants or a fluffy party dress, pony tails uneven, superman cape or their favorite blanket in tow… This is real life. My philosophy is simple: children grow up fast—every day, month, year, they change. As a mom of a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old, I know this all too well. Moments with brothers and sisters—either wild or sweet, quiet time with a newborn baby and parents, ice cream with grandma and grandpa, splashing in the bath or climbing a tree. In my experience young children come alive and show their real personality through play and doing what interests them on any given day. When children are relaxed and at play they show a natural spectrum of emotions—happy, determined, frustrated, surprised… through these emotions, I will capture your child on film, as they are today in their element. Whether it is a close-up of newborn foot, your child running through a field, nursing, smelling a flower, crying, falling asleep, laughing, hiding in the curtains or playing with their family and friends—I will capture your child as they are today. After all, this is what you will want to remember—a day in your child’s life. I will help you do that so you will never forget.
Q: What are some of your favorite places to take photos?
Lighting is the key to great photos! I love photographing children and families at the St. Vincent’s property in San Rafael, the Marin Art and Garden Center in Ross and at clients' homes. Parent’s beds are often a great place to take family photos—it’s a place where everyone feels comfortable. The more comfortable and interactive parents and their children are, the better the photos!
Q: What do you like best about living and working in Marin?
I love the wide range of scenery and photographic opportunities that we have. From the city to the beach to the redwoods—it’s all here!